Thursday, 24 October 2019

MPOV: The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.89/5
First published: September 1963
Author: Yukio Mishima
Translator: John Nathan
Genre: Philosophical fiction, classics, Asian literature

The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea tells the tale of a band of savage thirteen-year-old boys who reject the adult world as illusory, hypocritical and sentimental, and train themselves in a brutal callousness they call "objectivity." When the mother of one of them begins an affair with a ship's officer, he and his friends idealize the man at first; but it is not long before they conclude that he is in fact soft and romantic. They regard their disappointment in him as an act of betrayal on his part, and react violently.

The above taken from Goodreads.

There are 2 parts in this short novel. At first it's about a widow, Fusako, and her 13 year old son, Noboru. Fusako manages a well to do boutique after her husband passed away and takes care of the family overall. After 5 years of being a widow, she finally met a sailor, Ryuji, whom she really likes and started dating him. Noboru is an intelligent boy and is part of a secret gang in school. This group of boys liked to go to a secret hideout to discuss their code of ethics. Unfortunately, they are quite incongruous with their livelihood and think of themselves as the honourable ones which led to unwanted killings to prove themselves worthy. So in part 2, it took on a more sinister turn after Ryuji proposed to Fusako........

When I first started the book, I find that it was written poetically fluid. Of course, this has been translated but thankfully it was not lost in translation. In fact, I've enjoyed the prose though I did not like the plots. After reading some reviews, I realised the reason for this gory plots. Yukio has his own incongruous thoughts and agenda. I think he was a little suicidal too as at the end, though he died in a supposedly honourable way, he had planned everything until the way he would die. Hence I do think that this novel was somewhat a reflection of his thoughts.

I have never felt so convulsive after reading a fiction. It sure does feel as though it was real, it had happened before, even though it could only be Yukio's imagination. Here, I've listed down some appalling moments that I totally could not comprehend so SPOILER ALERT!!!

.
.
.

I was somewhat appalled that a 13 year old who had accidentally found a peephole to his mother's room would continuously peeped on his mother! He saw everything from his mother's nakedness to her having sex with her lover! He even happily reported it to his secret gang on all the details!

When Noboru was asked to kill a kitten during a secret meeting with his gang, I did not think it would continue gruesomely. In fact, it had been detailed how they dissected and inspected the dead kitten's internal organs! EEW!!!

Ryuji was being diplomatic here but Noboru was so ungrateful and felt otherwise
When Noboru called for an emergency meeting with his gang after his mother told him of her impending marriage with Ryuji, I totally did not expect them to actually planned on how to lure, drug and kill Ryuji! At this point, I was so shocked beyond words! They could even tabled the law that they are beyond 14 years old so they will not be prosecuted for the killing! I rest my case here.
Their planning.........
.
.
.

Overall, it's a good read if you can stomach those evil plots. Twisted dark minds of 13 years olds, what more can I say. It could be the start of a bunch of serial killers! Definitely not for the faint hearted. I sure felt scarred for life LOL!
Glory, as anyone knows, is bitter stuff.

Monday, 21 October 2019

MPOV: The Edible Woman

My rating: 2/5
Goodreads rating: 3.68/5
First published: 1969
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: feminism, fiction

Marian is determined to be ordinary. She lays her head gently on the shoulder of her serious fiancé and quietly awaits marriage. But she didn't count on an inner rebellion that would rock her stable routine, and her digestion. Marriage a la mode, Marian discovers, is something she literally can't stomach... The Edible Woman is a funny, engaging novel about emotional cannibalism, men and women, and the desire to be consumed.

The above taken from Goodreads.

Marian is ordinary. Her roommate, Ainsley, is rebellious. Marian does everything by the book, what was expected of her by her boyfriend, Peter, and her family. Ainsley, on the other hand, drinks, smokes and party to glory. One day, Peter proposed and Marian happily accepted it. However, everything becomes a blur after that as Marian started losing appetite and interest in her life. Ainsley, instead, has decided to get pregnant and raise the baby on her own.

All in all, with some jests here and there, this was supposed to be a gripping yet funny feminist novel. No doubt it's well written with good pacing and plots but I was just not into it. No matter how much I've tried to read it, dramatically or not, I just couldn't grasped the story in it. Instead I got more confused especially how Marian decided to break the engagement off with Peter. Perhaps I shall re-read it again in the future when the time is right.

I am truly surprised though that this book was actually Atwood's first novel and it's written in 1969. Such feminist plots were not the norm then but so relatable now and current. It felt like Atwood could see the future and knew how the world would evolved into. Things like having babies out of wedlock and having sex in a hotel for unmarried couples were considered illegal then. Not forgetting women were expected to be housewives after marriage was the norm. I was definitely blown away with those facts but still couldn't get into the groove of the story LOL!

Anyway, I've only read Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale so was hoping this book would enlightened and also entertained me. Well, I was wrong and not sure if I should get The Testaments, her new novel which is a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale. The reviews online have been promising so will see how......

Friday, 18 October 2019

Nyc Nat Nook 1st anniversary!

Time flies and it's been a year since we launched Nyc Nat Nook! From offline to online, with many pop-up market appearances and still looking for our niche, we have survived the many ups and downs thus far. We are still learning, hoping for that right Midas touch or move to guide Nyc Nat Nook to the right uphill path!

Aside from Handmade Hadiah's, Accessories for Ladies & Mobile Phones and Books for rent & sale, we currently have various Workshops for the Young Adults such as:
  • Mosaic art
  • Wood art
With mixed media medium, you can create your own artistry! All these are available during pop-up markets or if you are shy, you can purchase directly from us via online @ https://nycnatnook.easy.co.

Since it's our 1st anniversary, from this month onward while stock last, we have launched "Craft4Charity". We have received a bulk of Giraffe Mosaic Kits for this purpose. At a very affordable price of RM15 each where proceed of RM10 from each kit will be pooled and donated to an orphanage. We have yet to identify the orphanage but it will be announced in November. So if you are interested to donate and contribute, kindly email us @ nycnatnook@gmail.com for more info!
From Mosaic Art Online
P/S: Thank you to Mosaic Art Online for generously sponsoring this bulk of Mosaic Kits!

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

MPOV: Cry, the Beloved Country

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 3.89/5
First published: February 1, 1948
Author: Alan Paton
Genre: Historical literature, political fiction, classic

Cry, the Beloved Country, the most famous and important novel in South Africa’s history, was an immediate worldwide bestseller in 1948. Alan Paton’s impassioned novel about a black man’s country under white man’s law is a work of searing beauty.

Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.

The eminent literary critic Lewis Gannett wrote, “We have had many novels from statesmen and reformers, almost all bad; many novels from poets, almost all thin. In Alan Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country the statesman, the poet and the novelist meet in a unique harmony.”

Cry, the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son, Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. Remarkable for its lyricism, unforgettable for character and incident, Cry, the Beloved Country is a classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man.

The above taken from Goodreads.

This novel has been divided into 3 parts aka books.

Book 1 is about a Zulu pastor trying to look for his son. Upon receiving news of his sister in jeopardy in Johannesburg, he took the opportunity to also hunt for his missing son. His travel, aside from some mishap, was miraculously smooth with many who helped him unselfishly. It took him a while to finally find his son but in a very sad situation. His son was in prison, accused of murder of a white man. His sorrow took a positive turn at times whilst being helped by many.

Book 2 is about a rich white man losing his son and how the family tried to recover from this unfortunate loss. His son was shot at point blank by a native boy in his house in Johannesburg. Also, both the pastor and the white man are neighbours in the town they lived in, Ndotsheni. Hence a chance awkward encounter between the Zulu pastor and this white man was inevitable, a son of one who has shot the son of the other. Not forgetting the many court proceedings with a sad sentence for one and a happy sentence for the other.

How both of them fare after the sentencing at their respective home was entailed in Book 3. With the additional nephew and pregnant daughter in law in tow, the pastor and his wife had difficulty living through day by day knowing that their son will be hanged soon. Not long after, it seemed like a blessing in disguise with many good happenings in the village like milk for the hungry babies, building of a dam and even rebuilding of the church!

I remembered this book being one of Tun Dr. Mahathir's favourite hence I was curious when I finally got my hands on it. So upon reading it, now I know why..........

This novel was written in a 'sing song' yet ancient prose which was at times hard to digest especially of it's old writing. However, overall, it was gripping yet enthralling from one incident to another which made it hard to put it down. The tragedy of the unwanted murder that took place made a memorable impact, I can totally feel the anguish and sorrow of both parents.

Alan Paton has written flourishly with much empathy and I could truly imagined the fleeting scenes realistically. Though it was written aeons ago, it is definitely relatable as such divided castes, judgemental humans still exist in our current so called civilised world. Being brought up in such environment, it was not easy to diminish such unwarranted thoughts hence this book has enlightened me more.

Apparently this was made into a movie but I've not watched it. This novel also triggered my thought of another similar novel, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I do find that Cry, the Beloved Country a much better read and much more surreal overall. It's depth and nature of the story felt more realistic, as though the author had experienced it all first hand and writing his own memoir, so to speak.

Ending this review with a notable quote:

“Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that's the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing. Nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him if he gives too much.”

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

MPOV: Sweet Fortune

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.9/5
First published: November 1991
Author: Jayne Ann Krentz
Genre: Romance fiction

Everyone thought Jessie Benedict’s impending marriage to Sam Hatchard was a great arrangement—everyone, that is, but Jessie herself. Was she the only one who could see that Hatchard, her powerful father’s protégé, had a scheming ulterior motive in marrying her? He was more than just a chip off the old workaholic’s block—he was positively lusting after Jessie’s inheritance to build his own business empire! Free-spirited Jessie has plans for her own career as a detective—starting with the rescue of a teenage girl from a dangerous cult. But when a break-in and an intimidating act of vandalism strike close to home, her investigation pairs her with the compellingly masculine entrepreneur. Hatch does make her heart beat deliciously fast, but she’s not taking orders from any man. Imagine her surprise when he turns out to be not only a friend and ally, but a strong, tender lover who, in the end, knows how to seal a deal—with her resounding “I do!”

The above taken from Goodreads.

The first half was a little dull for me when both Jessie and Hatch were bickering about compatibility, business arrangement and the cult. When they have finally gotten together, it started to pace better and felt much more entertaining towards the end. Not forgetting, this one has the woman's stance much firmer with the guy following her tantrums more which was a good mix.

The earlier book was a much better read for me still. This one felt a little farce at times, especially since it's about the filthy rich and some scammed cult. At some point, the plots were predictable. Of course, it ends with the standard 'happily ever after'. All in all, it's entertaining lah!

Thursday, 3 October 2019

CSM: Project Kita Pop-up Market

Nyc Nat Nook will be at Suasana Presint 2 Putrajaya for Kita Pop-up Market this weekend! Aside from our DIY mosaic kits, we will also feature some new crafts on that day ya! So drop by and check out our booth!
See you there!

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

MPOV: Silver Linings

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.85/5
Originally published: 1991
Author: Jayne Ann Krentz
Genre: Romance, cumbu

Successful but shy, Seattle art dealer Mattie Sharpe fell hard for handsome, outspoken, professional adventurer Hugh Abbott. When he broke her heart and returned to his South Sea island home, Mattie vowed she’d only meet him again over her—or better, his—dead body. When they do meet again, it’s over someone else’s dead body—and now they’re running for their lives through a tropical paradise.

Hugh’s talking fast to make up for his mistake. Mattie’s not listening…until his gentle touch ignites a white-hot fusion, and she gives in. But Hugh’s past is catching up with them, and Mattie must stake her very survival on the man she loves—the only man who ever let her down! If there is a silver lining to a broken heart, Mattie’s about to discover it—when love storms back into her life and sweeps her off her feet!

Passion is an adventure—and seduction an art—in Silver Linings, from beloved New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz!

The above taken from Goodreads.

My first JAK read and thankfully it's exciting, filled with adventure and dramatically enjoyable! It's the usual slapstick romance that's nicely plotted. The only irk I felt was that in the end, the lady would give in to the guy no matter what, as expected. Of course it's written nicely with the lady insisting but it just irked me then. Other than that, an enjoyable read overall.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Kong Heng Artisan Market

I've recently discovered Kong Heng Artisan Market, thanks to hubs for alerting me and bringing us there. I've not heard of it and I was humbly surprised by the facade and market! It sure did remind me of Penang and Malacca but Kong Heng still has it's own unique artistry.

Located in the busy bustle of Ipoh, we were early so we beat most traffic and able to get parking easily. The walk from the car park to the market, passing through some alleys which were not only clean but artistically decorated, similarly to both Penang and Malacca. The only difference was the cleanliness here. Even the nitty dark back lanes were so clean! Well, I'll just let the photos do the talking here...

So clean right???

Kong Heng Artisan Market is actually a maker cum art market for the artsy fans. Lots of handmade stuffs are found here and some are quite unique too! Even the decoration for this location is artistically done.







We had this ball of ice LOL!!! It's from Bits & Bobs if you are interested :-)



On our way back to the car park, we did stopped by Bookxcess and Concubine Lane. Lots of stuff to feast the eyes on but it was already getting hot and humid with cramped up spaces. Too crowded so had to leave then...
Here's my mini loot! The lovely pair of earrings were from my Angels!!!
I did enjoy my time at this market and my mind has been buzzing with ideas! Unfortunately with limited funds and resources, most ideas would have to take a back seat... can only work on the feasible ones for now. Slowly but surely, love of art would lead the way, one step at a time! *fingers crossed*

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